The Carnivorous Plant FAQ Field Trip Report -

Florida waterscapes in 2003

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Instead of a diverse matrix of cypress swamps and marly bogs, I faced the entrances to two Fabulous Golf Courses, and a billboard for an impending mall. Everything natural had been cut down, landscaped, and replanted with non-native trees and golf course grasses. The few native species present were withering because of a combination of herbicides, fertilizers, and screwed water regimes. It was a drought in Florida, but the 36 holes on the Fabulous Golf Courses were doing great--nothing that a lot of ground water pumping can't solve. To hell with the local water table!

Just 60 minutes earlier I had been happily communing with my new otter friend; now I looked with misery upon the reality of what my species was so prone to do. This obliterated site had been the best place in southern Florida to see Utricularia simulans, now it was only some damned sand trap to challenge golfing athletes who had travelled to experience the unique thrill of "golfing in wild Florida". Of course, more than just that Utricularia species was gone--so were the other carnivores, so was the entire ecosystem. I was heartsick.

This is a part of field exploration which really sucks--you see what humans are doing to the planet.

I spent a rest of the day taking photographs of non-native, invasive species (Melaleuca, Schinus) that were crowding out the last few natives, then returned to my cheap motel in Everglades City to reflect.

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Revised: October 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005